Masala Chai Cupcakes, served with a bout of nostalgia…

Let’s take a break from the Italian adventures. I promise not for long. Today, I invite you on a different kind of journey, a trip down memory lane, as I dive deep into the depths of many memories back home. Come, travel with me as I make short stops and immerse in chunks of my past…

♦While the smoldering sun seeped through iron-grilled window panes, the kitchen is ridden with the rattle of pots & pans and infused & bursting with the scent of aromatic spices. It’s 4 pm & amma needs her usual cup of Chai. Dried tea leaves are brewed in hot water & enriched with Ginger, Cardamom, Tulasi, Star Anise & Cloves. The heat leaches out all the goodness in these spices & although subtle they wind up revamping it into royalty.Then comes the milk that our milk-man has delivered fresh in the morning. Boiled again for good measure, strained and served. But for her, Masala Chai is more than just tea-time. It’s a time to immerse in herself, albeit for a few minutes. A time to wash away monotonous responsibilities( although I highly doubt a mother’s heart lends her permission to do that), a time to submerge in calm & forget the challenges of life or at the least keep them aside for a short while. I like to think it’s a rudimentary nectar she takes assistance from to keep herself sane from the obligations & madness that perpetually surround her.

♦Maybe I should share with you my earliest memory of drinking Chai. It was the time when I metamorphosised into a night owl owing to the pressures of student life. Yes, dentistry changed me plenty and that can occupy a whole new blogpost in itself but gulping cups of warm milk-tea was a routine confined only to certain nightmares called internals. I say “drinking” because it was certainly not something I relished. Never an indulgence, just an infaliable drug that I yielded to in order to pull an all nighter.

♦Like my father, I have failed to fantasize tea in this form, unable to dwell in it’s glories & rhapsodize it’s greatness. However, I still label myself a teophile because I happen to admire it in it’s simplest attire. Black or green with a squeeze of lemon or orange. Maybe some mint, seldom a shred of chocolate or ginger! The husband unlike me is enraptured by the kick, power & sweetness of Masala Chai. He is beyond devoted. Those rare days when my parents visited us, mother & son-in-law were able to toss out awkward formalities, all over a warm cup of Masala Chai.

My tea collection at home

♦I realise I still haven’t made a mention of the 6 foot, 22 year old baby we had with us over weekends while in Bangalore, my youngest brother. He like my mother considers this drink an essential, a staple. I remember nudging him to get to his books whilst tempting with a cup of Chocolate Chai. Worked like a charm, every time.
His passion extends beyond the seclusion of home. Like when he excitedly told us about bustling mornings in Old Hyderabad where he woke up to Chai, Bun & Osmania biscuits. Or when he suggested I try an Iced Chai Spice Latte with condensed milk & whole spices after religiously learning it from a You Tube video.

While I sing songs of nostalgia, I hate to admit that I’m still learning & compelling my tastebuds to render itself to it’s grandeur. Let me clarify, that doesn’t mean I lack appreciation. I do and a special one at that when the Rain Gods pay a visit! Despite the little detests, I am thankful & Masala Chai has invariably become a big part of my life. This recipe is an homage to this warm beverage, an attempt to fall in love with the magic it exudes. Because we all know, if there’s one drink that stands in equal might with Filter Kaapi, it’s this!

My Masala Chai Cupcakes are dedicated to people like me who prefer desserts to pretty much anything else. To people like me who don’t particularly love Chai but are open to similar flavour profiles.
To the ones who’ve already proclaimed their love for Masala Chai because every bite of this rich cupcake is synonymous with a sweet, fragrant sip of warmth. 
And lastly to the brave ones who are willing to experiment & surrender to something new.
Whoever you are and whatever category you find yourself in, I urge you to try these cupcakes, you will not be disappointed.

As always these cupcakes are egg free, and suffused with freshly ground lavanga (cloves), elaichi (cardamom), Chakra Moggu (Star anise) & freshly grated ginger. They remain the true stars of this show. As the mortar & pestle did their bit, it was almost calming to drink in whiffs of these magical spices and not to forget, redolent of many special times.Tea decoction is added in good measure as well and topped with a generous amount of Chai infused buttercream.


3/4th  cup All Purpose Flour + 1 tbsp

1/2 cup Granulated sugar
1/2  tsp Baking Soda
3 tbsp oil
1/2 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 cup milk + 1 tsp white vinegar to make buttermilk
2-3 tbsp of Tea Decoction ( I used Tetley tea bags.)
1.5 tsp of Chai Spice- 

2 cloves
4-5 Elaichi/Green Cardamom pods
2-3 small pods of Star Anise

1- tsp of Fresh grated Ginger
1/4 tsp of powdered Ginger

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/2 cup of Icing sugar
4 tsp of heavy cream/milk
A pinch of salt
1- 1.5 tsp of Chai Spice

Crumbled cookies or biscuits

◊ Make the Chai Spice by grinding Cardamom, Cloves, Star Anise. Add powdered ginger as well.
◊ Preheat oven to 350 F and place cupcake liners in the tray.
◊Make Tea Decoction by boiling 1/4 cup of water and immersing 2 tea bags. Allow it to brew.
I used Tetley bags but tea leaves can be used too. The Cardamom peel can be added to this decoction as it brews.

◊Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl .(All purpose flour, Granulated Sugar, Baking Soda, Chai Spice)
◊Incorporate the wet ingredients-Oil, White vinegar & Grated ginger
◊Make buttermilk by incorporating 1 tsp white vinegar into 1/2 cup milk. Add this to the remaining ingredients. Whisk well to ensure there are no lumps.
◊ Add 2 tbsp of tea decoction and stir it into the batter.
◊ Next, taste! And I consider this the most important step because if the batter needs any extra spice or tea, then it’s important to add it at this point. The batter should taste like Masala chai

◊ Bake for 17-22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
◊ Cool completely.

◊ Beat softened butter and heavy cream for a minute until creamy.
◊ Add the icing sugar in parts and beat well.
◊ Incorporate the Chai Spice according to taste. I added a teaspoon.

Frost the completely cooled cupcakes with the Chai Spice Buttercream and top with a dollop (or more!).
Crumble Almond Biscotti or any cookie/rusk on top.
1) Don’t restrict yourself to just these ingredients. Cinnamon, Tulasi etc can be added too. Experiment with individual proportions as well.

2)The quantity of chai spice in the cupcakes & the buttercream can be varied depending on your taste buds.
3) If you’re curious about the flower deco – It’s a buttercream blossom made using Wilton tip #104
4) I apologize for this very , very long post!




129 thoughts on “Masala Chai Cupcakes, served with a bout of nostalgia…

  1. Wow, what a beautiful post about the humble cup of tea Divya. I can’t do without my two cups of tea. A big fan of the beverage.
    Today was planning to bake a cake. Your masala chai cupcake recipe couldn’t have come at a better time. Will try it out and revert back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Radhika😊
      Ive been commenting on all your posts but none of them are getting registered for some reason🙁 I tried on the app, laptop, desktop version but none are working. All my comments are vanishing into thin air! Infact I just commented on your latest post as well but it has not been registered. I hope the technical issue gets resolved soon!
      Your son’s doughnuts are simply amazing … you are one lucky mom 😊
      And your aunt in truly an inspiration 🙏🏻 Age is indeed just a number isn’t it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely recipe Divya! I could not agree more, my mom loves chai especially the masala version..but since there are no takers at home it never gets done:) I am more a coffee person, though I can drink lemon tea sometimes. Enjoyable read as always:)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I too belong to the chai brigade and can relish the cuppa in any form, masala or otherwise and was truly overwhelmed by your fantastic trip down memory lane and yes, those chai moments that your mom got for herself, a few minutes of staying away from the humdrum of a household is so touching,,,these are what mothers are made of aren’t they?
    The cup cakes are truly amazing and I need to try out these but I dread from trying out for fear of a flop show, that I am so very famous for:)
    Loved the family tales of the yore that are a delight to read over and over again! You are truly amazing with your way of words and expression DD that capture the minds and hearts of the readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sunita
      Thank you for those encouraging & kind words…means a lot coming from you 🙂 Thank you for taking the time:)..Truly appreciate it!
      You love chai too? Oh that’s nice to hear!
      I’m surrounded by people like you, that’s why the inspiration:) And yes, mothers are really something else!
      Please do try them out…It’s a no fail recipe and I’m sure it will be a success:-)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. They are just beautiful! aah to be artistic with food that would be a dream for me! Im better off sticking to the paintbrushes hahaha! But you Divya! oh my goodness you have such talents! XO!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks to my travels to India, I have been hooked on masala chai! Right now, my kitchen stove is not working (well, it hasn’t been for months and I’m too lazy to get it fixed!), hence I go to the nearest Indian-Muslim restaurant opposite my apartment to have my masala chai fix. At one time, a former colleague and I used to catch up for gossip every Friday evening over chai hahaha. Masala chai is soothing especially after a long day at work or when having a flu or during rainy days. Perhaps one day I shall try your masala chai cupcakes recipe 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this very lovely post with us, Divya! The cupcakes look fantastic and since I´m a fan of chai tea (though I dare say I´ve never really had real chai like in India) I´m definitely going to try out your recipe! Wish you a very wonderful week, my dear friend! Hugs&Kisses! Sarah 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You´re very welcome, Divya! 🙂
        The amount of my compliments only adjust to the awesomeness of your lovely blog posts, my dear friend 😉 Wishing you a beautiful sunday and an even better week ahead! Hugs&Kisses! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. You are a true artist, my dear! Like I always say, I wish we lived closer so I could have them all hahaa 😀 Love your description of the perfect tea time. I;m sure many can relate to what you have said 🙂 Your blog is one of my favorites!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a beautiful post, Divya, an absolute tribute to tea and nostalgia. It is this post of yours that got me into your space. The masala chai or just the humble chai is a staple in my home now and back at my parents and in-laws place so I can relate to your nostalgic memories. Yet to read your other posts but it is not difficult to guess that you have a beautiful blog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I remember, my sister surviving on cups of tea during her days of studying. I myself am not a very big fan of tea, but need to have it daily 😁
    The recipe sounds interesting and looks yummy..Will definitely try it out divya. Thanks for the share.


  10. Your writing is so wonderful. Love the stories you write, pics you take, and the yummy dishes you bake and present them. Yeah internals/exams and tea were a pair for me during college days :). Wonderful recipe. Thanks for sharing..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Neetha, you’re much too kind! I’m so humbled!! Very happy that you liked it and thank you for taking the time to read:)
      Haha, I’m happy that you can relate to the chai and exam thing…happy to have company:)

      Liked by 1 person

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